Marriage Counseling is Not What You Might Think

If you think marriage counseling is only for couples who are at the end of their ropes, you might be missing a number of opportunities to improve your marriage in ways that might actually help you avoid getting to “the end of the rope.”  Counselors are trained in relationship dynamics and have a wealth of education at their finger tips to pass on to you.  And they have the advantage of observing your marriage from above the fray.

Consider the following ways marriage counseling can help:

  • Teach healthy patterns of communication.  Whether you and your spouse have never communicated well – or you used to but mitigating factors have led to both of you forgetting what you know, marriage counseling can help identify how your communication style can be improved.
  • Help put the focus back on the marriage.  It’s very easy to stop prioritizing your marriage, especially with young children, busy careers and the general hustle and bustle of life.  This is a common issue for couples that often can be improved with a simple refocus of the lens in which you view your marriage – and attention paid to each other.
  • Work through resentment build-up on tougher issues.  If you and your spouse have some resentment starting to block your connection, sometimes these emotionally loaded conversations are better had in front of a marriage counselor who can contain the emotional reactivity in the room and facilitate working through it more productively and ideally, without more damage done.
  • Go deep.  There are often underlying attachment wounds and other family of origin issues that impact a relationship.  A good therapist will help you identify the relevant factors and teach you to do things differently for a more secure and emotionally safe connection.

As a couples therapist myself, I can happily report that more couples are coming to see me who are not in distress but are looking to avoid getting there.  Therapy in general has slowly moved away from shameful negative associations to a wise option in self or relationship care.  Many people see doctors for blood work and check-ups to catch problems early.  Marriage counseling is now often seen in the same way…as triage in many cases, yes…but as preventative too.

The even better news is that if you and your partner don’t agree that seeing a marriage counselor is the right move at this time, there are a growing number of marriage tools available online created by relationship professionals.  You can go the self-help route first to find resolution or at least clarify the issues if/when you decide to schedule with someone.